Pine-Richland Palomino powers through postseason
The summer baseball season is beginning to wind down for the Pine-Richland Palomino baseball team, which competes in the Butler County Area Baseball League.
But there’s still some business to finish.
After accruing a 10-6 mark during regular-season play, the Rams entered the Butler County Area Baseball League playoffs as the third seed.
They rattled off playoff wins against Cranberry and Karns City. The first-round victory over Cranberry, however, wasn’t achieved without a measure of drama.
“That win against Cranberry was a tough one. We were down 1-0 for most of the game, then, in the sixth inning we tied it up,” Pine-Richland coach Brad Ansell said.
“We put a guy on in the seventh inning, and then we had a walk-off home run to win it. It was Ethan O’Neil that did the damage and hit the walk-off. He hit a shot to left-center; it was crushed. His homer won it for us, (and) we beat them 3-1.”
Ansell and his team will hope for the same result in their semifinal matchup against Kiski Area, save for the drama, perhaps. A win for the Rams in the playoffs against Kiski Area would mean a berth in the championship game this week.
For much of the season, Pine-Richland has relied on its strong pitching staff. Ansell’s team will look to replicate its stellar work on the mound in the playoff semifinals behind ace Chuck Spontak.
“We got a couple of strong pitchers. Our pitching staff has been great. Probably our No. 1 guy has been Chuck Spontak,” Ansell said.
“He’s a righty with some great pitches, he has a nice curveball and a really nice changeup. He’s been kind of our go-to pitcher. We try to get him into that starting rotation as many times as we can, and he’s answered the call.”
Ansell also credits right-hander Dylan DiNapoli for being a mainstay in the team’s starting rotation. Pine-Richland also has relied on left-hander Shane Waryck to close out contests, a responsibility he’s handled well, according to Ansell.
Kevin Lohman is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.